December 18, 2013 - 14:58 — SarahVessalo

In honor of my post by the same title from last year (and because many of my predictions were golden), I thought I'd get the Oscars hype going again.  Put down your holiday shopping lists and take a break with the movies!

The Golden Globe nominations are already out, so the Academy Awards aren't far off.  The other exciting news is that experts consider this year's contenders to be several and very strong.  PopcornIn a recent article from "Variety," Tim Gray theorizes on the reasons for this year's cinematic bounty, including the recession, stress and the improving quality of TV programming.  There's something about lean times to get the creative juices flowing, and if "Breaking Bad" has millions of American viewers glued to their TV sets, don't the movies have to work harder to keep up?

Well, apparently they have.  The competition at this year's Oscars should be fierce.

I admittedly haven't had a chance to catch up completely at the theaters, but what I've seen so far is encouraging.  I had to dare myself to go see "Gravity" (being claustrophobic and not-the-space-movie-type) but it was 90 of the most spellbinding minutes of my life.  Astronauts and science nerds may have begun their nitpicking, but feminists and residents of Chicagoland (small spoiler) will find plenty to revel in.  I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen in 3D, since a general sense of disorientation and weightlessness is most of the experience.Movie tickets

And the comedy category is unusually strong this year, pitting "American Hustle" against "Nebraska" and "Inside Llewyn Davis."  David O. Russell (of "Silver Linings Playbook") has Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence back together - plus Christian Bale and Amy Adams.  Need I say more?  The latter two feel more indie, but bring plenty of creative power with Bruce Dern (frowning for 2 hours in black-and-white) and the Coen Brothers, respectively.  All three of those are must-see.
Finally, if we're going to go wide-eyed about power casts, I've got to mention "August: Osage County."  There's Meryl Streep, of course, but joining her are (deep breath) Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch and Dermot Mulroney.  The screenplay is adapted by Tracy Letts, the playwright of the original Pulitzer Prize-winning stage production at Steppenwolf in Chicago.  That's right: another Chicago connection.

So there you have it, movie lovers.  It's going to be one wild Oscars season!  Get out to the theaters and come into your Library to get prepared.  We may even show a few Oscars nominees at our Free Movie @ the Library program this spring!

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